While directing the New Orleans Saints to a 31-13 rout of the
Carolina Panthers on Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome,
Brees put up another trademark performance, torching the NFL's top
scoring defense with four touchdown passes — two each to wide
receiver Marques Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham.
Brees became the first NFL quarterback in history to record six
consecutive seasons of at least 30 touchdown passes. He now has 33
scoring passes this year against just eight interceptions.
On a night when he completed 30 of 42 passes for 313 yards, Brees
also reached 50,000 career passing yards faster than any quarterback
in NFL history. He did it in his 183rd game, eclipsing Peyton
Manning's record of 191 games.
"In a lot of places when a quarterback has 50,000 yards, they might
have fireworks and stop the game," Saints coach Sean Payton said.
"This was just kind of a 'That a boy' (moment).
"It's a pretty unique feat. It just really shows his consistency,
his durability and his availability, along with his skill set. I'm
happy for him — and obviously proud of him."
In snapping Carolina's eight-game winning streak, the Saints (10-3)
took sole possession of first place in the NFC South. They were
coming off a 34-7 loss to the Seahawks in deafening conditions
Monday night in Seattle.
New Orleans' 31 points were the most allowed this season by the
Panthers, who entered the night surrendering a league-low 13.1
points per game. Carolina gave up as many as 24 points only one
other time this season, in a 24-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week
The Saints spotted Carolina a 6-0 first-quarter lead, then unleashed
Brees and a raucous, sellout home crowd on the Panthers.
Brees threw scoring passes of 6 and 15 yards to Colston and 5 and 8
yards to Graham.
When Brees surpassed the 50,000-yard mark in the fourth quarter, he
simply smiled and acknowledged the sellout crowd's ovation.
"I love this offense and I love what Sean Payton has put together,"
Brees said. "I love this group of guys that I get to chance to play
with. We've been through some great times. We've shared the joy of a
world championship, and now we're attempting to make another run at
The revived Saints defense sacked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton
five times — three by defensive end Junior Galette and two by
defensive end Cameron Jordan — and held him in check (22 of 34 for
160 yards and one touchdown).
Brees spread the ball around to so many receivers that sometimes
Colston's contributions get overlooked. However, Colston found soft
spots in the Panthers' zone to make nine catches for 125 yards. He
lost another touchdown when his right knee came down a half-yard
short of the goal line in the third quarter.
"He absolutely is one of the most underrated players in the NFL,"
Brees said of Colston. "He was a seventh-round draft choice and he
had more catches than any player in NFL history his first two
seasons, and he really hasn't stopped. He's so durable and reliable
and such a big-time playmaker. I'll match his numbers up against
The Panthers hurt themselves early in the game by not fully
capitalizing on excellent field position and by not finishing off
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A 13-play, 53-yard drive to open the game burned 6:18 of the
clock, but the Panthers had to settle for a 45-yard field goal
by Graham Gano after Newton was sacked on third down by Galette.
Then, after the Saints went three-and-out, Panthers return
specialist Ted Ginn Jr. returned a low punt 32 yards with a
nifty move down the right sideline, and Carolina got an extra 15
yards when punter Thomas Morstead tackled Ginn by the facemask.
That set up the Panthers at the New Orleans 32, but they again
settled for a Gano field goal, this one from 26 yards. At that
point, the Panthers held a 6-0 lead, having run 22 plays to the
"In the red zone, you've got to score touchdowns if you're going
to beat a team like the Saints," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said.
"When you get to the red zone, you have to score."
Payton said the second red-zone stop was perhaps the key to the
"The concern I had coming into the game was having the energy we
needed to play a divisional game in a short week," Payton said.
"We ended up getting the stops we needed defensively. I thought
holding them to a field goal on that particular drive was huge
because you felt it was potentially going to be 10-0."
After a sluggish start, Brees and the Saints offense got into a
rhythm, driving for touchdowns on their next three possessions
to take control, 21-6.
The three scoring drives went for 80, 86 and 76 yards, and Brees
capped the marches with scoring tosses of 6 and 15 yards to
Colston and 5 yards to Graham.
Graham's 8-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown was his NFL-leading
14th scoring catch of the season.
NOTES: Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart, who was limited in practice
last week due to a ankle injury, left Sunday's game in the third
quarter after hurting his right knee. He will undergo an MRI
exam Monday. In the loss to the Saints, Stewart gained 16 yards
on one carry and made a 16-yard reception. ... With a 6-yard
scoring pass to WR Marques Colston in the second quarter, Saints
QB Drew Brees set an NFL record by throwing at least 30
touchdown passes in six consecutive seasons. He broke Brett
Favre's record of five consecutive seasons with at least 30 TD
passes, set with the Green Bay Packers from 1994-98. ... Colston
surpassed 8,000 career receiving yards with a 21-yard reception
on the Saints' first scoring drive. The Saints scored a
touchdown on just one of their previous 18 possessions. ... New
Orleans improved to 7-0 at home. ... ... The Panthers inactive
players were WR Tavarres King, WR Marvin McNutt, DB Josh Norman,
RB Kenjon Barner, LB Jordan Senn, G Chris Scott and DE Frank
Alexander. For the Saints, WR Nick Toon, FS Rafael Bush, QB Ryan
Griffin, CB Trevin Wade, LB Keyunta Dawson, OT Terron Armstead,
and DE Glenn Foster were inactive.
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